Oussama Metatla

Research Fellow - University of Bristol

Designing multisensory technology with and for people living with visual impairments

Involving people in the process of designing technology that affects them is now a well established component of HCI research and practice. However, as with many forms of participation in decision-making in society, people living with visual impairments have had more limited opportunities to influence technology design across a variety of domains. A number of factors contribute to this, including that many design methods rely on visual techniques to facilitate participation and the expression and communication of design ideas. Also, while using visual techniques to express ideas for designing graphical interfaces is appropriate, it is harder to use them to articulate the design of, say, sonic or haptic artefacts, which are typical alternative modalities of interaction for people living with visual impairments. In this talk, I will outline our experience of engaging with people living with visual impairments and people with mixed visual abilities, where we adapted participatory design methods in order to jointly create meaningful technology, and describe some resulting research investigations that such engagement opened up in the areas of multisensory and crossmodal interaction design.

About the speaker:

Oussama Metatla is an EPSRC Research Fellow at the Department of Computer Science, University of Bristol, where he currently leads a project researching inclusive education technologies for children with mixed visual abilities in mainstream schools. His academic and research vocation is to explore and demonstrate how HCI as an applied field of inquiry can contribute to making human society more inclusive of people with disabilities. This includes research interests into investigating multisensory user experiences with interactive technology and designing with and for people living with visual impairments. He received his PhD in 2011 from Queen Mary University of London for a thesis exploring and characterising the use of sound to support non-visual interaction. Following this, he was a Researcher Co-Investigator on two EPSRC projects Crossmodal Collaborative Interfaces and Design Patterns for Inclusive Collaboration, also at QMUL before being awarded an EPSRC Early Career Fellowship, hosted at the University of Bristol.

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